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Manono lithium/tin project, Democratic Republic of Congo – update

Drill core from the Manono project

Photo by AVZ Minerals

15th September 2023

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Name of the Project
Manono lithium/tin project.

Location
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Project Owner/s
AVZ Minerals recently raised $400-million in a transaction with Chinese investment firm CATH Energy Technologies, under which CATH would earn a 24% interest in a multifaceted joint venture (JV) to develop the Manono project.

AVZ’s interest will fall to 51%, from 75%, with DRC-owned Cominiere retaining a 25% stake.

Project Description
An independent assessment has shown that the Manono project could have one of the lowest carbon footprints of any global hard-rock lithium miner.

The project has total mineral resources of 400-million tonnes grading 1.65% lithium oxide, 715 parts per million tin, 0.96% iron oxide and 0.29% phosphorous pentoxide.

The definitive feasibility study (DFS) has shown the project to be robust and viable, and envisages conventional openpit mining producing about 700 000 t/y of high-grade lithium and 45 475 t/y of primary lithium sulphate over a 20-year mine life, based on a 4.5-million-tonne-a-year operation underpinned by the project’s ore reserves.

Primary lithium sulphate will be produced using 153 000 t/y of the spodumene concentrate product as feedstock.

The processing flowsheet allows for the recovery of tin and tantalum from hard-rock ore, as well as smaller amounts of alluvial tin and tantalum secured from local artisanal mineworkers.

Potential Job Creation
Construction is expected to create 400 to 450 jobs, with 500 to 550 jobs expected to be created in the long term.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
The project has a pretax net present value on a 100% basis, at a 10% discount rate, of $2.35-billion and an internal rate of return of 53.15%, with a payback of 1.5 years.

Capital Expenditure
Initial construction capital is estimated at $545.5-million, including a 10% contingency.

Planned Start/End Date
Production is expected to start in the first quarter of 2022, subject to Covid-19 regulations.

Latest Developments
Tantalex Lithium Resources Corporation has received and executed a term sheet from diversified miner Glencore International for a marketing offtake agreement involving lithium produced from the Manono project.

Glencore will pay a first tranche of $2-million to Tantalex upon execution of a marketing offtake agreement, followed by a second tranche of $3-million upon Glencore’s satisfactory review of a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) on the project.

Tantalex plans to release a PEA on the project in the coming weeks.

A third tranche of financing, equating to a third of the total capital required for the Manono project, will also be provided.

The capital expenditure financing commitment is a significant milestone in de-risking the Manono project and getting Tantalex closer to being the first lithium producer in the DRC.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
GR Engineering Services (process plant); PAIE (metallurgical testwork consultants); ALS (metallurgical testwork laboratories); Coppern (high-pressure grinding rolls original-equipment manufacturer, or OEM); Steinhart (ore sorting OEM); Middindi Consultants (geotechnical study); RD Consultants (hydrogeology and hydrology); CSA Global (resources-to-reserves study and mine development); ERM (mine closure plan); CONSI (operational readiness); L&MGSPL (tail­ings storage facility); Dynamic IT (information technology systems); Infraology (technical rail due diligence); Roskill (marketing survey); Graeme Campbell and Associates (geoscience); EmiAfrica (economic- and social-impact assess­ment); FTI Consulting (financial modelling); KCS Mining (mine contractor costing); Increva (project management consultants); Nexus Bonum (ore sorting consultants); iSpatial (geographic infor­mation system mapping); and Wisedesign (hydroelectric power plant DFS).

Contact Details for Project Information
AVZ Minerals, tel + 61 8 6117 9397 or email admin@avzminerals.com.au.

 

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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